How Not To Give A Nature Lesson

Today is a new day in my efforts to find anything to entertain my son. As you may know, we live in a town where there is very little to do! So today we jump in the car and an hour or so later find ourselves at a lake we’ve never been to before, according to Google, there’s plenty there,  parks,  fairground rides even a static hot air balloon ride but as we discover when we arrive, they’re all closed for refurbishment…brilliant.

Anyway, undeterred we start wandering around the lake, it’s a bit cloudy today so it’s bearable to walk whilst not in the shade.

After a short walk, we stop to have an apple and look for any boats on the lake. I look down and see a few ants running around, I tell T to drop a bit of his apple on the ground and see what happens.

T pondering whether to share his snack with the ants

Almost immediately, a tiny brown ant spots it and starts tucking in, a few minutes later another comes, then another, after a while, one has obviously gone to tell it’s mates about the jackpot and its covered.  

What then follows is a good 20 minutes of him being mesmerised by these ants taking this piece of apple apart, couple that with my best David Attenborough commentary and he now knows the ants are working together to get the apple back to their nest and feed their family. I’m pretty chuffed with the wisdom I’ve just imparted, nature lesson over…  

…but hang on,  there’s a bird squawking away on top of a lamppost… let’s see if this nature lesson has legs.

We throw a bigger bit of apple on the path, the bird stares at it for a while then comes to get it,  all standard stuff really, nothing too exciting but T enjoyed it and I guess it reinforces the idea that birds don’t just eat worms. Just as we’re about to throw the last bit of apple and continue our walk, a seed drops out. 

This apple core is the lesson that keeps on giving…..after a quick briefing of how seeds work, T is ready to go grow his own apple tree,  we cross the path to the nearby grass verge,  get a stick to make a little hole, pop the seed in, cover it up and sprinkle some water on. He waits patiently for the apple tree to grow…I figured I’d let him wait a bit longer before disappointing him, squeezing every last second out of this little adventure.

What an hour it’s been, all outdoors, lessons learned and he was entertained by something other than Netflix, all for the cost of an apple, perfect!

……. hang on… why is he jumping up and down? …. and screaming?… louder… and crying… panicking…. what’s going on?? I pick him up, then it all becomes clear.

We’ve only gone and planted our apple seed inches away from a Fire Ant nest!

They are everywhere, in his shoe, on his leg and going up his shorts, 

Ahhh…they’re all over him!!

I’m frantically trying to flap, swat,  flick them away but they are determined little blighters, his shoe is off but they don’t seem to be relenting!

Ahhh…now they’re on me!!

They’re in both my shoes, on my ankles!

Why didn’t I see this coming and just move when I picked him up? 

They’re still crawling all over him which means I can’t put him down, so they pretty much have free reign of my lower legs. 

If you haven’t been bitten by a fire ant, it’s a bit like someone sticking a sewing needle in your skin, I’ve probably got 15-20 running around my shins, socks don’t help either, they’ll just bite straight through, I guess they enjoy the challenge.

The pain is horrendous.

I think I have T clear by now and I take him to safety as I try to sort myself out, I feel like they’re boring their way in through my skin, I’ve got both shoes and socks off hopping around the path slapping my legs, who knows what this looks like to passers-by.

The aftermath of the battle. No doubt they will have been forcing their way into my bag ready to attack me again whilst I sleep.

A few minutes later and the drama is over, my ankle is red raw with ant bites which will come up nicely later on.

That’s what I get for trying to teach a nature lesson and be one with the outdoors!

What’s that in the distance, a McDonalds with a slide? much better idea. 

Screw you, nature.

I am a stay at home Dad, from England, living in Malaysia. Talking about how we survive the heat, the cultural differences, the lifestyle changes, the travel and lots more challenges that being a stay at home Dad in a foreign country brings.

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